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15 May 2020updated 04 Sep 2021 12:29pm

Covid-19 involved in more than quarter of all care home deaths in recent months

By Nicu Calcea

Coronavirus has accounted for more than a quarter of deaths in care homes since the start of the pandemic, figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today showed.

Nearly 46,000 care home residents in England and Wales have lost their lives between the start of the coronavirus pandemic and 1 May. More than a quarter of those deaths, or 12,526, are known to have involved Covid-19, the ONS said. 

The total number of deaths is more double the figure for the same period in 2019 (22,573). When coronavirus deaths are taken out, that leaves 10,800 extra unexplained deaths compared to last year. Many are likely to be directly or indirectly related to the pandemic.

Around three quarters of care home residents’ deaths involving Covid-19 between March and May occurred in care homes (72.2 per cent) with almost all the remaining cases occurring after residents were moved to hospitals (27.5 per cent).

The ONS analysis shows that Covid-19 was the leading cause of death for male care home residents, accounting for just under a third of fatalities. That only includes cases where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate – again, the true number of cases where the virus played some role could be far higher.

Covid-19 was the second-leading cause of death in female care home residents, after dementia and Alzheimer’s, accounting for at least 23.5 per cent of deaths.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s were the conditions most commonly associated with Covid-19 deaths, being present in 42.5 per cent of coronavirus-related deaths among care home residents.

Image credit: LINDSEY PARNABY / Getty Images

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